Members of the community soon will have the opportunity to honor the fastest-growing small businesses in Brazos County, as nominations for the 24th annual Bryan Rotary Club 10 Business Performance Awards are set to open Friday.

According to Benjamin Cortez, a Bryan Rotary Club member and public relations chair for the event, this year's awards and accompanying luncheon are designed to recognize established businesses in the county for their community involvement, customer service, longevity, financial growth and more.

"It was essentially developed as a community enhancement project," Cortez said. "We really didn't have an award program that was recognizing entrepreneurial growth in a big way, and one of the pillars of the international Rotary Club is to stimulate local business and to award and develop local entrepreneurs so that they can in turn stimulate the economy further. ... It's just a way as a Rotary group to give back to the community."

Formerly known as the Newman 10 awards, the event is co-hosted by the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce and Texas A&M University's Mays Business School. The awards are sponsored financially by Anco Insurance.

Cortez said Brad Napp, small business advocate and program supervisor in Gov. Greg Abbott's Office of Small Business Assistance, is set to be the keynote speaker for the June 14 awards luncheon where the 10 honorees will be publicly revealed.

"[His office] has a strong focus on small business, which I think is really mirrored in the eyes of the governor," Cortez said. "That's a big focus for a lot of our area, and I think Bryan-College Station is one of the best examples of what that success looks like."

To be considered for the awards, a business must be a member of the Bryan, College Station or Aggieland Rotary Clubs, Brazos County-based, independent, privately held and open for at least five years.

Once nominated, the business will be asked to fill out an application including information about its gross sales. To qualify, sales must be more than $50,000 but less than $25 million. Franchises are not eligible.

Cortez said nominations for the awards will be accepted through March 15 and can be submitted by anyone in the community -- including the businesses themselves.

This year's awards will not include the Rising Star award, which previously had been presented by the Research Valley Partnership. Cortez said the locally funded economic development group has "opted to go in a different direction" with the award and is expected to participate in a different way in the future.

For more information or to submit a nomination, visit bryan-rotary.org. Physical copies of the nominations also can be delivered to the offices of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce or Anco Insurance.

• To submit a nomination: Visit bryan-rotary.org. Physical copies can be dropped off at Anco Insurance or the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce

• Nominations are due March 15

• Anyone in the community can nominate a business, including the businesses themselves

• The business must be a member of the Bryan, College Station or Aggieland Rotary Clubs, Brazos County-based, independent, privately held and open for at least five years.

• Franchises are not eligible

• Awards luncheon set for June 14

• Brad Napp, small business advocate and program supervisor in Gov. Greg Abbott's Office of Small Business Assistance, is set to be the keynote speaker

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